STORRS, Conn. — A Darwinian professor at the University of Connecticut (UConn) who asserted his ape ancestry is defending his actions during a recent campus gospel presentation, while university officials have released a statement decrying his “abusive language and confrontational posture.”
As previously reported, James Boster, Professor of Anthropology at University of Connecticut, spent over two hours attempting to draw students away from several evangelists that were open-air preaching and distributing gospel literature on campus.
Evangelist Don Karns of Hampton, Virginia told Christian News Network that Boster approached him as he was holding a sign about evolution and became condescending and confrontational.
“He asked me if I had accepted Darwin as my lord and savior,” Karns stated. “He was very agitated, very demonstrative. … It was very unbecoming of a professor.”
Minutes later, Boster also began to heckle campus tour coordinator Scott Smith of Schoolmaster Ministries of Raleigh, North Carolina as he preached.
“As I was pointing to Christ—I was talking about the sin nature—I said, ‘There’s probably some people out there—maybe even professors—who think they descended from monkeys,’” Smith recalled. “[Boster] jumped off the ground and came running over and basically started screaming, ‘I did not come from a monkey! I came from an ape!’”
“He got about two inches from my nose,” he noted. “You could tell he was going to pop.”
Karns states that Boster then confronted him a second time, using profanity and likewise coming closely to his face. Andrew Rappaport of Striving for Eternity Ministries in Jackson, New Jersey witnessed Boster as he began presenting a speech in an attempt to stir up the students.
“He started to address the students as ‘My brothers and sisters of Darwin,’” he recalled.
“I want you to join me in saying, ‘Praise Darwin!’” Boster declared, as the students echoed his refrain. “Amen!” he proclaimed.
Boster then instructed the students to “feel your spiritual kinship not just with other humans, but also with your fellow mammals, with your fellow amniotes, with your fellow eukaryotes.”
Rappaport explained that as he began preaching, Boster again became agitated, and at one point began shouting in Polish.
“He literally got two inches from my face and started yelling at me that I was ignorant,” Rappaport said. “I start trying to transition to the gospel and he then tried to get the crowd to tell me to shut up.’”
But in an email to Christian News Network, Boster defended himself against allegations that his behavior was inappropriate.
“The self-described Christian evangelists came to UConn not with the good news of the gospels but with a message of hate, bigotry, and ignorance. They attacked my students for their sexual behavior, sexual preferences, religious beliefs and ethnicities and condemned them to Hell,” he wrote. “A mama bear will defend her cubs, a mother goose her goslings, and I will defend my students from strangers who come to call them sodomites, fornicators and sinners condemned to Hell.”
“Darwin’s message that all humans are our brothers and sisters, all mammals our cousins, and all life our kin is much closer to the loving affirmation of life found in the gospels than the hate, bigotry, and ignorance preached by these rude guests to our home,” Boster stated. “It is a moral duty to be outraged by the morally outrageous. I am proud to have done my duty to defend my students from attack.”
However, in response to Boster’s comments, Smith told Christian News Network that there was no specific discussion about sexuality.
“We spoke generally on sin being passed to all human beings, that ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,'” he explained, quoting Romans 3:23. “We did not focus on one person or group of people, and the only time race was discussed was when Don Karns noted the full title of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ — ‘The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life’ — to express that Darwin was a racist. We love people of all ethnicities and pointed out this concern.”
UConn officials also released a statement about the matter, outlining that despite his disagreement with the message, Boster’s actions were unacceptable.
“Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses,” it wrote. “At the same time, we expect our faculty to act in a way that promotes civil discourse and to express themselves respectfully. The use of abusive language and the confrontational posture seen here are inconsistent with UConn’s values.”
“Yes, I’m in deep trouble,” Boster told NBC Connecticut. “The dean has summoned me into his office.”
The evangelists said that they hold no ill will against the professor, and realize that many reject the biblical message of repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ.
“We obviously care about this professor and the students at UConn, and we long for them to find the liberty and freedom from sin in serving Jesus,” Smith stated.